When I started my blog in the summer of 2011, I never imagined that I’d quit my job to run my freelance business full-time. There have been tons of ups-and-downs during this transition, but the biggest driving force was the online community I built.
I firmly believe if you’re someone who’s building an online business, and working as a solopreneur, it’s vital you have a supportive community around you. Not only so they buy your products and spread the word about your business, but to encourage you through your struggles and successes.
Below are five reasons why it’s essential you connect with an online community, if you want your freelance business to be successful.
1. Working Online is Lonely
Having an online business creates a lot of freedom — you can work from anywhere in the world, at anytime, as long as you have an internet connection. But with the pros of course come a few cons — the biggest one being the fact that you’re often working alone, in your home office or at the kitchen table.
This situation can get very lonely, and leave you longing for the interaction you used to have with co-workers at your corporate job. This is where creating a close-knit online community will help you avoid the everyday loneliness.
And I’m not talking about the relationships you have with people on Facebook or Twitter. Yes, those platforms introduce you to other creatives, but they don’t build the quality relationships you need.
This is where private groups and forums really shine, because they often lead to offline meetups and gatherings — which is where the real community resides.
2. New Doors Will Open
When you surround yourself with a community of go-getters you accomplish amazing things in both your life and career. They can offer you guidance, connections and the motivation to keep moving towards your goals.
For me, it was a whole lot easier to quit my job, when I surrounded myself with people like Amanda, who just cut her day job hours in half. I’ve been able to learn from her ideas, lessons, tips and failures since I’ve built a personal relationship with her.
3. Push Beyond Your Comfort Zone
Have you ever watched a friend or family do something extraordinary that inspired you so much you just had to try it too? Then you know what I’m talking about when I say that other solopreneurs can inspire you with their ideas, their accomplishments and their openness to share.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. If you plan to get unstuck, live an epic life and create your dream business, then you’ve got to overcome mediocrity by surrounding yourself with people that push you outside your comfort zone.
Why do you want to stay the same when you’re capable of so much more? This is what the right kind of community can do for you!
4. Find Common Ground to Stay Motivated
In order to balance a side-hustle when you’re working full-time, you’ve got to have consistent schedule in place. But waking up at 5am to get a jumpstart on freelance projects, or going to bed at 2am so you can finish responding to client’s emails, really sucks if you don’t have someone there to motivate you.
However, it’s a lot easier when you have someone who’s up at the same, interacting with you on Twitter about how bad you need coffee.
Take my friend Jessica, who pumps out her best work in the mornings — just like I do. We’re both up bright and early working, before the rest of the world is even awake. That connection helps us cope and gives us some common ground to smile about.
5. Get a Better Work-Life Balance
Just like real life friends, online friends and colleagues can remind you that sometimes you need to take a break and get a life. Recently, Amanda was pushing herself so hard she got to the edge of exhaustion and made herself sick. A few members of the community pointed out ways for her to relax and that she needed to let her body recover.
We all understand how this field of work creates a constant “on” type of lifestyle. Where your life is your work, you’re always on social media, and your mind is always in creation mode.
Sometimes you need someone to remind that you need to make yourself the priority and take time for self-care.
Have you connected with an online community? What’s another way they’ve impacted your freelance business?
Image Credit citrixonline